Microbial growth present on ceiling tiles due to moisture intrusion
Microbial growth present on ceiling tiles due to moisture intrusion

Industrial Hygiene and Safety: Scott Brehmer, MPH, CIH, CSP, Citadel’s IH&S Practice Leader, offers relevant and timely perspectives in his piece that follows.

Moisture Intrusion

Broken water lines, bathtub overflows, and appliance and equipment malfunctions are common water loss events in buildings. But during rain events, water infiltrating from roofs, windows, and building drainage systems, are potential pathways for water to enter a building. Once water penetrates the building envelope, time is of the essence.

Effective drying of the building material is critical to reduce the likelihood of microbial growth. If building materials are not properly dried within 24-48 hours, there may be visible evidence of suspect microbial growth or a musty, moldy, or mildew odor. Hidden microbial growth may also be present on the back side of drywall, underside of carpets and pads, and roofing materials above ceiling tiles. Elevated levels of microbial growth can impact indoor air quality, cause damage to building materials and furnishings, and increase liability risks for property owners and managers.

Citadel Experience

A Citadel industrial hygienist performing a moisture intrusion and microbial growth survey.
A Citadel industrial hygienist performing a moisture intrusion and microbial growth survey.

Citadel EHS has an experienced team of industrial hygiene professionals who are trained in moisture intrusion and microbial investigations, ventilation, indoor air quality, and building systems that are available to assist. Citadel brings experience performing moisture investigations for projects ranging in size from small, localized releases to entire multi-level, major buildings. Depending on the source of the water, Citadel collects samples to categorize the type of water causing water damage to evaluate whether the water contains harmful bacteria. Citadel also has licensed professionals available to sample affected building materials for asbestos and other hazardous materials. Our expertise in this area can help to avoid delays during remediation.

We have experience working with sensitive occupants and coordinating with various stakeholders and contractors towards shared goals. Citadel works with a variety of property owners and contractors on moisture intrusion prevention plans, which serve as guides to identify, respond, and mitigate water loss events.

What to Expect

Citadel’s experienced team of industrial hygienists (CIHs) can respond quickly to your requests. Following the moisture investigation, Citadel prepares a summary of our observations, results, and meaningful recommendations in accordance with industry practices. Following remediation activities, Citadel performs a final investigation to confirm the affected building materials were properly remediated. Surface and/or air sampling are collected to verify that the remediation was successful.

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